(Except you’d have to go back in time to read them in July 2022.)
July was a strange month. Chooch left us for most of it so I was very disoriented and sad. I tried to drown myself in books but a lot of the books sucked, so that was a big backfire. I read 12. Here they are in the order I read them, as usual.
SOLID FIVE STARS AND ONE OF MY NEW FAVORITE BOOKS OF ALL TIME.
I knew from the first chapter that this was going to shape up to be 5 stars, and one of the best books I’ve read. Ever. Period. It broke me. One of the most beautifully written coming of age tales ever. Every sentence is art.
It’s set in a small Ohio town in the early 80s and every last character is exquisitely crafted, the writing is — hold on, I’m crying lol. The writing made me feel like I was a part of something and I wanted to protect every member of the Bliss family until the end of time.
Please please please read this book. If you’re into audiobooks, the narrator of this one is exceptional.
2. All the Pretty Things – Emily Arsenault
3. Mrs. Caliban – Rachel Ingalls
This was written in the late 70s / early 80s I believe and it felt like something that would be assigned to read in college because it was so literary and full of meanings and allegory that I was definitely too stupid to understand, yet JUST SMART ENOUGH to pick up on. It was bizarre and I did laugh out loud quite a few times, but then by the end it got too soap opera-y. But I gave it a solid 3 stars for it’s weirdness.
I low-key hated this book and every character in it, and also I had no idea what was going on for most of it because I didn’t care. I don’t want to talk about this book anymore because it was stupid. Read it if you want though, I don’t care.
5. A Certain Hunger – Chelsea G. Summers
Suuuuuper graphic book about a cannibalistic food critic telling her story from prison. Literally all you need to know. I found the writing to be an absolute delight though the book felt fairly dense and I couldn’t read it for very long lengths of time. The human parts didn’t bother me, but there were some parts that detailed animal butchering and processing that I obviously was not a fan of.
Overall, a pretty quirky and dark book from the POV of a female serial killer.
6. I Kissed Shara Wheeler – Casey McQuiston
I was really stoked for this because I loved One Last Stop and McQuiston writes some snip-snappy dialogue that would have been right at home on the old WB back in 2000. But this didn’t get it done for me. I just didn’t really understand why we cared where Shara Wheeler went (look, I cared so little about her that I originally spelled her name “Shari” in the title and had to go back and correct it. I don’t know, read this if you want. But it’s kind of dumb. Although I did cry at the end.
OMG what is the matter with me.
7. The Perfect Stranger – Megan Miranda
I put this on for Henry and me to listen to on the way home from Waldameer and it was abysmal. I should have DNF’d it. It was so over the top, the characters were flat, the plot was confusing. The back and forth with the timeline was frustrating. Megan Miranda just kind of writes like an amateur, sorry, but THAT IS MY OPINION.
8. You Made a Fool Out of Death with Your Beauty – Akwaeke Emezi
Shit, I have loved every one of their books that I have read so my expectations were SOARIN’ for this. But this one just didn’t move me like the other books there. It felt just like any other romance, really, and speaking of romance, I DID NOT GET THE ATTRACTION BETWEEN THE TWO PEOPLE?? It just didn’t work for me. It didn’t even feel like this book was written by the same person who wrote The Death of Vivek Oji and Freshwater, to be honest.
There’re some REALLY VIVID food descriptions in this though and I was there for that.
A pretty solid thriller with some excellent twists that I definitely did not see coming! I think it’s decided that UK thrillers are my faves.
10. A Touch of Jen – Beth Morgan
I knew going into this that a lot of people hated this book which is actually what inspired to me to read it. I needed to know for myself. The verdict is that while I didn’t outright it, it also wasn’t a very enjoyable reading experience because all of the characters were so unsufferable and the story itself was….I mean, I dunno, wtf was that?? Basically a couple are obsessed with this bitch that the guy-part of the couple (Remy) used to work with. He’s clearly infatuated with her and then his gf starts trying to be like her and they role play about her and it’s just all very uncomfortable. Then something happens somewhere past the halfway mark which actually made me scream and feel a little sad, and it just wasn’t a good time.
Even now, being forced to think back on it, I feel really icky.
Also I forgot that there was one good character and that was Jake the Roommate. Remy can get fucked with a rusty pole, honestly. What a cunt he was.
Um, I gave it three stars because it made me have feelings and the writing itself was actually pretty decent – I even LOL’d a few times. But there were a lot of chapters that were so boring and new-agey. Read at your own risk.
11. So Happy For You – Celia Laskey
OH YEAH, BOY. This was the book. The thoroughly entertaining, super quick read, thrilling and delightful book that I had been looking for this summer. If you hate weddings and tradition, this is for you. This book was wild. I’ve heard a lot of booktubers say that main character was grating but I didn’t find her to be so at all – I thought she was a great character and I loved her ideals.
12. Promise Not to Tell – Jennifer McMahon
I read one of McMahon’s newer books and absolutely hated it, but I still gave this one a whirl based on the library’s recommendation. It’s one of her older books (from the early 00s, I think) and I actually really enjoyed it. I listened to it on audio because I’m currently in the middle of a new gemming project but it’s a gift for a friend so more on that after the Pie Party, but this book was PERFECT to carry me through some lonely hours of gemming alone. It had a dual timeline but unlike dumb Megan Miranda, Jennifer McMahon made it work well here. I LOVED the earlier timeline with the Potato Girl character and commune life – it was all so creepy and made me so nervous even in broad daylight.
A solid summer thriller / kind of ghost story-ish.